I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again…
You guys are the BEST!
I was totally blown away by the amount of support, encouragement, and above all, the EMPATHY from yesterday’s post. It seems that many of you also have a difficult time recognizing your satiety. So, as a way to show my appreciation and the (seriously gushing) amount of love I have for you all, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned over the last several weeks that got me to the point of FINALLY recognizing my fullness.
According to the book, Intuitive Eating, there are a NUMBER of factors that keep us in the Clean-Your-Plate Club:
1. Dieting/restricting portion sizes and/or food groups: How can you be expected to leave any traces of food behind when you KNOW the amount is limited?
2. Having been taught by well-meaning parents: While meant in a loving way, being told over and over to finish ALL of your food (and sometimes punished if you didn’t) can leave a lasting effect and give us a skewed perspective on food.
3. Respecting the almighty dollar and the waste-not attitude: One of my favorite quotes from the book…
“Remember that either way the food can be wasted; in the case of chronically eating more than you need, it becomes an issue of w-a-i-s-t.”
4. Sheer habit of finishing a “serving”: A container of yogurt, a whole sandwich, a single snack bar…Remember, portions aren’t always one size fits all.
5. Beginning a meal in a ravenous state: Satiety cues can fall on a deaf ear when you’re eating so quickly that you can hardly breathe between bites.
6. Distraction: Let’s face it, multitasking is a LOT harder than it sounds.
I can actually attest to every single one of these. That’s right, pretty much every instance of my overeating in the past can be attributed to ANY one of the points above. So here are a few things I tried (and saw success from) in an attempt to change my habits and start actually LISTENING to my body…
1. Set. Serve. Sit!
I can’t tell you HOW many times I’ve eaten in the past while propped up next to the kitchen counter…or heck, sometimes just grabbing random bites from various shelves of the refrigerator! Most of the time, I wouldn’t feel satisfied because it just felt like a quick snack, but I swear to you, the moment I set it all out on a plate, grabbed some actual silverware, and sat down, it became a REAL meal.
For the record, yes, that yogurt IS real life…absolutely delicious AND super filling! So filling thaaaaaat I didn’t even finish it! 😀
Can you believe there is a such thing as aluminum foil?! It conveniently fits over opened containers of yogurt (and other stuff) and keeps fresh in the fridge for like, DAYS! 😯
2. Power Down.
That’s it…no tv, no computer, no cell phone…just you and your food. This was one of the biggest things for me as I will SWEAR to be an excellent multitasker, but in all actuality, I totally suck at it! I would eat an entire meal, while completely glued to my computer screen and find myself scraping the bottom of the plate/bowl within minutes without even realizing! Sometimes I couldn’t even tell you what the food tasted like!
Now, while it’s not always feasible, I try to create a soothing, relaxing environment whenever I can. It really is amazing what some soft music, a cloth napkin, and a little candlelight at breakfast can do for the soul…oh and some #yolkporn never hurt! 😀
3. Slow down. Stop. Savor!
Give yourself time to eat. Stop at different points during your meal and “check in” with yourself…literally, put your fork down. Take a breath. Think about how the food tastes…how it feels in your mouth. Is it pleasing and satisfying to your tastebuds or are you just eating it because it’s there?
In the salad that I made for lunch today, I accidentally overcooked my chicken…it was dry and pretty much tasteless…instead of eating it anyway, I pushed it aside and dug around for more of the “good parts” (ie, blue cheese, cranberries, and more!)
Life is too short to settle for mediocre food. Don’t feel compelled to eat it just because it’s on your plate! Another favorite quote from the book…
If you don’t love it, dont’ eat it, and if you love it, savor it.”
If you practice conscious eating, neutrally observing yourself while eating, you are more apt to take notice of that little voice in your head telling you that you are getting full.
And remember, if you THINK you’re full, then you ARE full!
Don’t be afraid to put everything away and only to feel hungry again in an hour…it happens sometimes…especially in the beginning. But you HAVE to allow yourself UNCONDITIONAL PERMISSION to eat. How can you be expected not to lick your plate CLEAN if you honestly believe that you will never be able to have that food again?! This all goes back to taking the labels OFF of foods!
I have gotten SO much support from Jamie and the other girls taking the IE Challenge, but if you are looking to take a leap of faith and join me on the journey of Intuitive Eating, then seriously…
GO BUY THIS BOOK!
And if you don’t believe me, take it from this girl…a recent convert who has had more than a few “ah-HA!” moments since starting the book just DAYS ago! 😀
Do you find these tips helpful?
Any requests for future posts on the topic of Intuitive Eating?
I’m an open “book”! 😉
I love that so much and I can relate on EVERYTHING. I used to overeat on every single meal and it made me miserable, I felt awful full everytime I had a meal and eating was no fun anymore. Putting Food on a Plate and sitting down was my biggest help, next the slow down part. A trainer once said to me to chew every bite 20 times. It seems odd, but ut works. You eat slower and you have the taste longer in your mouth, besides that, it is easier to digest for your stomach if it is chewed well. The distraction thing is still a challenge for me. I just feel odd when I am alone to stare at the wall while eating 🙂 But I start to work on a relationship maybe with the empty chair in front of me 🙂
Thank you so much for all the tips, you are making amazing progress and I love to follow your journey!!
Aww, thank you so much, Lucie my dear! I’m so happy to be able to help…even if it’s only a little bit. The extra chewing is definitely a good tip…just to slow down and really “taste” the food can make so much of a difference when it comes to satisfaction. As far as the distractions go, it does seem weird at first to sit at a table all by yourself, but I like to use that time to meditate a bit while I’m eating (since I’m not exactly the best at it when I try doing it any other time…ha!). I try to just clear my head and think about how great the food is, how it’s nourishing my body/soul, and how happy I am to finally be in a place in my life where I don’t feel restricted. Definitely brings a smile to my face! 🙂
Sounds great, but I am still not sure if it would be for me. Maybe over summer when I have the time to focus my attention 😀 But I can definitely relate to all the Clean-your-plate club points!
I think I need to buy this book for sure. Not sure how I would go convincing my boyfriend that we couldn’t watch tv when we eat. He is a technology junkie!
How about instead of zoning out to the tv during your meals, you try using that time to talk with each other about your day…plan things for later in the week/weekend…or heck, even just trading some silly jokes! I hear laughter aides in digestion! 😉
Those are great tips! I haven’t totally finished the book, but it really does have great points. The multitasking is a tough one for me. I’m just so crunched for time!
I hear ya girl! I’ve been fortunate to be able to dive into this without having to worry about work adding extra stress to the mix, but with me starting back next week, I do wonder how much time I will feel like I’ve lost. I’m just going to try to focus on slowing down when I can…hey, stretching a meal out over 10 minutes is a heck of a lot better than 5! 🙂
Glad you’re enjoying the book! I’m definitely a multi-tasker when it comes to eating…I’m always on the computer, doing homework, watching TV…might be something I should think about trying to change!
Oh yeah, totally guilty…it’s amazing how much focus it takes to watch tv! haha! I do find that I’m better when I’m reading or doing something at the same time with my hands though (like homework would be in your case) because I have to stop for a moment to pick up my food…so it helps to shift the attention for a bit! Hey, whatever works, right? 😉
LOVE this post and couldn’t agree more! Ever since I have started sitting down without my phone or computer I have noticed that I enjoy my food so much more! It is crazy that the simple act of putting everything on a plate and eating with a fork and knife actually makes a “snack” seem so much like a mini meal!
EXACTLY!! Oh, Kayla, I’m so glad to hear that! I swear I couldn’t believe how filling a Quest bar could be until I put it on a plate and ate it with a fork! Actually, it kind of made it feel like more of a treat…like I was sitting down to a cookie cake or something! Lol
Love this post.. I am most definitely buying this book!!! I have to break free!!
The one thing that can screw me up the most when it comes to intuitive eating is letting myself get too hungry. If that happens, not only do I probably end up eating too much, too quickly, but I often spend a good chunk of time eating at my kitchen counter – taking bites of this and that – before I bother sitting down. Now, I love snacking and getting a taste of different things, but I have to admit that that approach to eating definitely isn’t satisfying, and the nibbling/grazing is actually something I’m trying to cut down on.
Oh my gosh, me TOO! I am the world’s WORST at planning ahead when it comes to meals (which is why I need to start doing some meal prepping on the weekend). All too often I’ve caught myself in “chew your own arm off” mode without a clue as to what I even have in the kitchen! And I’ll admit, I’ve actually made a meal out of random nibbles from the fridge…a pickle here, a bit of hummus there, ohh what’s that? crackers and mustard? Sure! Lol
I blame a lot of my not sitting and savoring to being single. I know I shouldn’t use that as an excuse, but when you sit down to a meal with your family, or with friends, you just EAT. You are talking and communicating, not just shoving food in your mouth because it is TIME to do that, or because you are so hungry you need to do something to quiet your stomach.
As a single lady, it is easy to ignore the fact that I even have a table, when the couch, and the distraction of Glee on Hulu us so much more appealing than sitting alone and eating. I know I should be comfortable with it, and I have lived with people who are GREAT and actually stopping, sitting, and just focusing on the meal, but I am not good at it!
I love you to death girl, you know that, but you’re right, you SHOULDN’T use that as an excuse! I know I have the man-friend on the weekends, but 5-6 days out of the week, I’m a single lady myself. Don’t think of it as a time out or something. If you WANT to watch Glee or Hulu, then watch it, but just take the time to look down at your food every few bites…make the conscious connection that you are still eating and don’t get so absorbed in the show that it’s gone before you even taste it. Honestly, I like just sitting and listening to music. I actually just use the time to meditate a bit…it may sound weird, but it’s the only time I’ve ever really been ever to quiet my mind long enough. Especially since during shavasana I always end up thinking about what I’m going to make to eat when I get home! 😉
Ya I have issues with leaving food on the plate…is that bad? lol I guess maybe its because I make myself such a smaller portion than my husband..but when it comes to meals I don’t ever really push away UNLESS I am eating at a restaurant, because then I know I can take it all home 🙂
But most of the time Im just way too hungry and scoop it all into my mouth so fast that my tummy doesn’t have time to communicate with my brain. Ive got to SLOW it down!
Lady, you are so amazing! THANK YOU for these tips – they are most definitely helpful, and I definitely need to go out and pick up this book!
I’m definitely guilty of the “laptoping while eating” thing – one thing I can definitely implement right now is the devoting my time and attention to what I’m eating. Another thing I’ve been guilty of in the past is overeating vegetables (because vegetables = “good”), and not giving myself permission to eat all I want/need of other foods because I’ve deemed them arbitrarily too “unhealthy”. Retrospectively, the only thing that was unhealthy was my mindset! Unconditional permission to eat what I want and also to stop eating is what I’ve been working on.
You are such an inspiration! Keep it up! 😀
Thank you so much, Steph!! Aww, I have such a huge smile on my face right now! It makes me so happy to hear that I’ve helped you in your journey! And I totally understand that “unhealthy” mindset…I was right there not long ago (I really want blank but instead I’m going to eat these fistfuls of carrots…because THAT is what is healthy! NOT!!) Glad to know that you can also see the distortion in that thinking!
Perfect. Yup, just right.
I have so much whirring through my head…I’ll have to text you. Ha
PS may I say, I am LOVIN your pictures 🙂
The funny thing is, these are all tips that I KNOW but need to remember to actually FOLLOW…Funny how that works. 😉
Amazing girl! I definitely always think I need to have the full serving, but with your help today I busted out the aluminum foil 😉 Who knew that even existed!? 😉 HAHA!
Great post babe! You’re like an IE genius 😉 You’ve been helping me so so much 🙂 I cannot thank you enough 🙂
I’m still a member of the clean my plate club, but I think that will change a little bit this summer. During school since I have to make my own food I only have a few slots out of the day where I can eat, and eating soup on the go isn’t really ideal. I will say though that there have been a few time where I’ve just stopped myself because I know I made too much and to keep on eating would be disastrous 😀
I would like to hear your thoughts on intuitive eating and weight loss actually. I’m not trying to lose weight personally right now, but I know that’s the reason why many became restrictive in the first place. So, I know in theory this shouldn’t affect weight… but I kind of think for some that it will. Do you know what I mean?
I know exactly what you mean, Madison! One of the KEY points made in the IE book is that in the beginning, you have to LET GO of the weight loss goals/dieting mentality. If you are constantly thinking about your weight, those thoughts will cloud the mind and you may not be perceptive to the subtle cues your body tries to give in the way of your hunger. The book also says (and I completely agree on this) that if you are patient, your body will assume it’s “natural” weight in due time…especially once the introduction of intuitive exercise (or just simply “movement”) is incorporated. The resulting weight may be a little higher, lower, or the same as when a person started the journey, but there is also an aspect of body acceptance in there as well. Someone with a size 9 foot wouldn’t try to shove themselves into a size 6 shoe, would they? Same concept! 🙂
I love Oikos yogurt too! It’s delicious! 🙂
Thanks for this post. Your tips are really helpful and interesting. 😉
The slowing down and savoring your food is such a good tip! I remember the first time I read about doing that, and felt silly that it was such an “a-ha” thing. When did I forget to do that?? I’m so glad I was reminded and have come back to making the effort to slow down and savor! I still need to work on the “don’t multi-task” thing though . . . specifically at work during lunch.
Did you ever read the children’s book Bread and Jam for Frances? One thing I always remembered about that book was what a production her little friend (Albert?) made about his lunch. He’d have little salt and pepper shakers for his hard boiled egg . . . a school lunch eaten at his desk . . . and everything. That kid had it going on in terms of enjoying a solo meal.
We could all learn from him.
Aww, no I’ve never heard of that book! Sounds like a great one to help reinforce the innate abilities of intuitive eating in kids though! I just finished reading the chapter in the IE book dedicated to helping children hold onto their inner intuitive eater (and also how well-meaning parents can get everything jumbled up for them)…it was a VERY interesting topic!
Great post and great tips Heather! I’m seriously super impressed by all your progress so far (especially your thought process) it’s really great to hear!
Intuitive eating is still tough for me to grasp. Especially since I have blood sugar issues, so sometimes I can’t always listen to my proper hunger cues, or else I may faint;) hah.
Glad you’re doing so great with this!
Thank you, Lisa! And honestly, if you give yourself the chance to REALLY become in tune with your body’s signals, I think you’d see that you can notice those blood sugar changes as well. I have the same problem…sometimes I will be fine and then all of a sudden, my blood sugar drops and I get dizzy and lightheaded. Just have to remember that everyone’s hunger cues are different…most of the time, I feel my hunger in my head rather than having my stomach growl.
number 3 is soooo true and soooo important. we sometimes catch ourselves eating our food way too fast, and we have to continually remember ourselves to slow down and savory it all!!
LOVE that this book is rockin’ for ya! I’ve been making an effort to ONLY eat when sitting (yup, hard to put away that phone or book, though) and actually taste it all–makes the effort I put into cooking/buying good food worth it!
first of all, thanks for the link to my site!
second of all, i love this post!! especially when you talk about not eating your chicken because it was overcooked. i can’t even tell you how many times i’ve eaten a horrible meal just because i thought i SHOULD eat it. i love the part about wasting, too.
ah, keep writing about this and updating us because it’s refreshing and it helps keep me going, too! 🙂
Oh of course! Thank YOU for all of your support in this! I love seeing how many people are opening their minds to the freedom of intuitive eating…it really is an entirely new way of living…so much MORE than just food!
I JUST read today that section in the book! haha! It was such a great point they were making and yet I still would find myself taking a sharp inhale because all this freedom is honestly a little overwhelming. but the more i go through the days living intuitively I’ll sometimes look back and think about how much I ate and realize it was either not as much or just as much as i was eating before but SOOO much less stressful! hurray!
Rah, rah, rah intuitive eating is the best, life changing, great stuff and super important especially for this post, but I can’t get past the blue cheese on your salad. Apparently, I suddenly have a one track mind and who knew ADD could be thwarted by cheese. I’m just glad you’re happy. Is that too cheesy? Mmmm, cheese.
Hahaha! Oh I love your little
pea pickin’cheese eatin’ heart! 😉 Omg, that was one of the BEST salads I’ve made in forever! The gorgonzola definitely made it! I was trying to recreate the wedding salad even though I didn’t have all the ingredients…but I still think I got pretty close! I was actually kinda sad that I wasn’t able to finish it! Lol
I guess I could have been a millionaire since I do that & not even a IE person! 😉 I have been listening to my bod for years exercise wise & not quite as long food wise but I learned. I write about it all the time – listen to the bod! 🙂 I also am one to answer, I don’t eat it just because & for me especially a treat as to be a 9-10 out of 10. If it is not, I don’t waste my calories on it. 🙂
Slow down is a big one, People need to learn to give the bod time to savor AND feel the food in the bod Takes 20 minutes to feel the fullness of food so slowing down for that plus enjoying it is key!
Sounds like you are on your way! 🙂
I think I have the most trouble with the “unconditional permission’ to eat, idea mostly because I don’t have unconditional time to eat! Unfortunately..On days I am running from class, to the gym, to work, back to the gym, to intern etc. I feel like my “meal time” is my only time to eat. Ive been working on listening to my body and eating foods or creating meals that satisfy those crazy cravings rather than eating what I think I should be eating a.k.a nutritionally balanced etc. and its been difficult but so worthwhile. I was wondering how or if you have had to deal with the “unlimited permission” while you were at work, the gym or just plain busy. Maybe I can incorporate your techniques to help me feel more comfortable really trying this one out. LOVE these posts you share! I feel like I am on this journey with you and definitely share in your ah-HA moments! Can’t wait to snag this book this weekend (hopefully!)
Oh I hope you are able to get your hands on the book…I swear it has helped me SO much over the last couple of months! And I’m so glad to hear that my posts have been helpful….you have no idea what that means to me!
As far as the unconditional permission, do you mean that you have a hard time allowing yourself to snack between mealtimes? Or are you just unsure of what to do in a situation where you are caught out and have a limited selection when it comes to foods to satisfy your cravings? I’ve actually been very fortunate to not have work to worry about since I started my journey. I’ve been off for the last seven weeks after having knee surgery and that is right when I started practicing intuitive eating. There have been a couple of times though that I’ve been out of the house, running errands and gotten hungry…I just try to keep a handful of snacks with me at all times that are things that often appeal to me, but also have a little variety. Bars, crackers, snack mixes, fruit…sweet, salty, crunchy, and soft. Does that help at all? Forgive me if I misinterpreted your question.
I absolutely love whole intuitive eating movement that’s sweeping the blogging world. IE is something that I really want to learn how to embrace again. I know it’s definitely a healthier mindset to have. Keep up the positive vibes! You have no idea how much your posts encourage me. Xoxo.
Awww! YOU have no idea how much it means to me to hear (err, read) you say that! Thank you so much, Brittany! xoxo
Sometimes I struggle with this by I have def gotten better. Bad thing is I actually savor and eat “properly” when I am standing and multitasking. I can’t just sit and it a meal, it makes me nervous lol
Interesting…well, just goes to show how everyone is different! Good for you for taking notice and seeing what works better for you!
This is so good! I think being in a rush and not powering down during my meals is my biggest problem!! I really need to work on this. I love that quote you gave! I need to remember that instead of saying…. its just a couple more bites.. that’s not enough to save! I love you!!
It has REALLY helped me shift my focus…I have ALWAYS hated the thought of wasting food…I never once stopped to think of it from a different perspective!
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Thank you for this post! I’ve been researching how to avoid the “clean plate club” with my kids, and this provides a great perspective on the natural consequences of using that old-school approach with your kids.
You are SO welcome, Kelly! I’m just glad to know my experiences can serve as help to others! 🙂
I like these ideas, but I think they miss the most important points.
Most of the hunger you eat affects your endocrine system (which also effects your brain/pleasure sensors), which give your body signals about how much food it needs to store for the future, in addition to how much nutrients you currently have.
When your body doesn’t think it can or has the need to store calories for future use it stops being hungry.
If you start with that, changing the composition of the food you eat is more important than trying to consciously push yourself into certain behaviors, which we all know is difficult since our willpower can be taxed at times.
But I should probably add that getting in touch with the food you eat is important for its own sake. So good luck!
Don’t feel like your getting stalked, but I’m loving all these older posts…although it is partly your fault for linking me up.. 😉
Aww, glad you’re liking them! Please…by all means, stalk away! Especially since I’ve done the same thing on your blog! 😉